No Large 12 event, no NCAA event, not a traditional offseason, however perhaps issues will start to really feel acquainted for Oklahoma basketball because the Sooners start follow Wednesday.
Like each collegiate sport, COVID-19 has modified the sport, however basketball was one of many first sports activities the place it actually hit dwelling what was about to occur within the nation.
On a Saturday in March, OU’s Austin Reeves is scoring 41 factors and main the Sooners to an epic comeback win at TCU. And that Wednesday, the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder-Utah Jazz is canceled, and we all know the story from there.
The NBA simply accomplished its season Tuesday night, exhibiting a bubble environment can work. That gained’t be the case for school basketball, however all people is clearly excited to be again.
“Basketball is form of their consolation zone,” stated head coach Lon Kruger throughout a Tuesday Zoom name. “Once they come to follow each day, when they’re round one another, when they’re within the gymnasium throughout all of the craziness that’s going round in different areas of their life, within the gymnasium they form of neglect all that and give attention to what they like to do.
“They want that, as anybody would want what they’re extra snug and revel in doing. Basketball is that out, if you’ll, for the fellows. They sit up for it.”
There are nonetheless numerous unknowns because it involves the season. Heck, the schedule hasn’t even been launched and convention video games are nonetheless being shuffled.
For the Sooners, the massive unknown is relating to the eligibility standing of its two transfers, guards Umoja “Mo” Gibson and Elijah Harkless.
Neither is a grad switch, so the Sooners have requested for waivers for every for instant eligibility. As these have been granted left and proper throughout the nation, Kruger and crew are nonetheless ready.
“No replace so far as a ruling,” Kruger stated. “Once more, we’ll make utility for every as we’ve carried out. It goes to the arms of the NCAA committee on the eligibility side of it. No response at this level. We anticipate one thing within the close to future. The season continues to be 6-7 weeks away however it is going to be approaching extra rapidly than we would think about.”
When OU returned for exercises in July, it was reported no person among the many males’s basketball program examined constructive for COVID-19. OU is now not sending out sport-specific outcomes, however basketball has seen how rapidly COVID-19 and call tracing can change the sport.
From lacking the prospect at a event look to the craziness across the spring and summer season exercises, it could possibly be a psychological wrestle for everyone. Kruger is assured his guys are in a superb place as follow will get going.
“I’m certain it’s impacted some greater than others,” Kruger stated. “Outwardly, they’ve appeared to responded nicely to it. Anytime you lose your convention event, you lose your NCAA Event alternative, the exercises in April, the exercises in June, July, you lose all of that and also you roll with it, you make changes for it. On the floor, it looks as if our guys have dealt with it in a good way.
“We speak to them quite a bit. They appear to be stable footing, feeling good, anxious to get the season began. If there’s anybody that’s been affected by it greater than what can be very regular and so they’ve dealt with it nicely, then we’d be shocked. We expect everybody’s in nice form, feeling good. They’re disenchanted by some issues they’ve missed out on.
“We talked early on, the massive factor is perspective standpoint is how we reply, how we stay versatile and regulate to no matter comes, and notice it’s not going to be regular, it may not be honest to what the norm can be however it’s a must to transfer on. The blokes have carried out a superb job up so far.”
Reeves prepared for management function
If ever there was a yr the place veteran management is de facto going to shine by way of and be vital, it’s this one. Fortunately for the Sooners, they’ve 4 seniors in Austin Reeves, Brady Manek, Kur Kuath and Alondes Williams.
It doesn’t really feel that way back when Reeves was transferring to OU from Wichita State and ready his flip. Now? He’s going to be anticipated to be one of many alpha canines, on and off the courtroom.
He is aware of the expectations.
“We have some younger guys on the crew,” Reeves stated. “They usually search for somebody to push them and do these sorts of issues. I believe the fellows that we have now, the seniors that we have now, have carried out that very nicely. And we’ll proceed to do this as teaching employees retains pushing us to do this.”
Manek not apprehensive about chemistry
Reeves is changing into a pacesetter, however Manek is the one four-year senior to start his profession in Norman. He has principally seen all of it, coming in with Trae Younger for the 2017 class.
For him, he stated he’s not in search of main modifications to his sport. It’s going to be extra about fantastic tuning all the pieces and persevering with changing into a greater all-around participant.
What soccer coaches have confused in latest weeks is how a crew’s identification and chemistry actually get cast through the offseason and people summer season exercises.
Basketball was hit with that, too, with the altered schedule. Chemistry is one thing Manek doesn’t appear to be apprehensive about. It’s extra concerning the on-court points which can be exhausting to follow till you attain that second.
“I believe it’s been constructing (chemistry) over the previous couple of months,” Manek stated. “Proper now, we’re kinda moving into the movement of various lineups of various individuals being collectively. I believe chemistry gained’t be a difficulty.
“The problem can be locking into the crew aim, whether or not it’s getting this huge cease or needing to attain on this play or operating this play to get this man the ball. I don’t suppose it’ll be a chemistry concern. All of us get alongside. We wish everybody else to succeed. I believe it’s extra of a playmaker perspective than a chemistry perspective.”